Qantas suspends two pilots after cockpit stoush

written by australianaviation.com.au | August 21, 2012
Qantas' services from Dallas are among the longest commercial flights in the world. (Brenden Scott)

Qantas has stood down two pilots after the pair reportedly got into a heated argument in the cockpit of a Boeing 747 on the tarmac in Dallas.

According to reports, the captain and second officer came to loggerheads over takeoff calculations as the jet waited out a thunderstorm ahead of a flight to Sydney via Brisbane last Tuesday.

Qantas confirmed that the two pilots were being withheld from service pending an investigation.

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The flight, QF8, arrived in Brisbane some 18 hours late after being held in Dallas overnight. Qantas said the flight was held up because of delays caused by the storm, not because of the argument between the pilots.

The incident comes less than a month after a Qantas captain was removed from operational duties after testing positive for alcohol prior to a flight from Sydney to Brisbane.

12 Comments

  • Justin

    says:

    Ha. Qantas pilots. Enough said.

  • Anon

    says:

    And people complain about cadets pilots…. I’d rather be flown be a professionally trained airline cadet than drunk Qantas pilot who can’t keep their temper.

  • Dane

    says:

    Fair enough. The accident at Tenerife is a prime example of what happens when pilots argue.

  • Mark

    says:

    Well Anon the one involved is an SO which may mean he’s a cadet pilot from the QF program a while ago 🙂

  • The dude

    says:

    I thought they’d got rid of all the old “skygods’. Obviously not.

  • Steve

    says:

    Remember Tenerife..i thought QF pilots were more professional than that!!

  • Marc 1

    says:

    No Tenerife occurred because there was not sufficient argument. Had the 2nd officer been more forceful and not allowed himself to be bullied – that crash would not have occurred.

    I am happier that this was the result than one backing down and the plane making very expensive noises with the death of all onboard.

    What is a little average is that two trained adults given factual information and the tools to work out said problem could not sort this out themselves.

  • Freddo

    says:

    Marc 1 made some usefull comments. The fact that there was an argument means the flight crew were doing their jobs. What is not known is whether the argument endured because of clashing personalities, or whether the current “system” did not provide them with an immediate and documented solution.

  • Al

    says:

    More to the point, Qantas loses $240+ million on international and wonders why . . . Here are a few suggestions. It costs more than any other carrier to fly them. Faced with lossses, rather than improving it’s offering, it slashes it to way less than Singapore Airlines and a raft of others. I flew QF32 LHR-SYD – it should be named the 40 Hour Famine flight. . . I wandered Changhi terminal in search of food – starving. The Airline wages war on its staff. Surprise, surprise, the staff take it out on the passengers. The last few times I flew Qantas I felt that my presence was an imposition – little wonder I let my Platinun FF status lapse. Qantas First class is a staff room for paxing crew who chatter and laugh all night while the passenger gets no sleep. . . Singapore Airlines First is growing gangbusters . . . It’s not hard to figure this stuff out Alan Joyce.

  • Alan

    says:

    well said Marc1, for a Second Officer (SO) to challenge his senior Captain, demonstrates the SO must have had nerves of steel! If this was an Asian carrier, junior officers would never question their Captains, hence accidents occurred which should never have happened.

    This said, good Captains are those who listen and implement effective Crew Resource management. Lets hope the report into the incident will clarify and offer revised procedures for when Pilots disagree on the data.

  • t.dicky

    says:

    what was the first officer doing to minimise agro and crm damage?

  • Freight Jockey

    says:

    “what was the first officer doing to minimise agro and crm damage?”

    Pre-flight walk-around? Recording the “robust conversation” (to quote QF corporate-speak) for the purpose of making a report? Or cowering in his/her seat suffering the Tenerife disease to which Dane, Steve and Marc1 alluded?

    Salutations to the SO: takes guts to question a Skygod, & there’s no shortage of those at QF.

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